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Consider Home Therapy for a Full Recovery

October 9, 2017

Contributed by Carole Clausen, Personal Trainer, Fellowship Senior Living

If you have recently been discharged from a hospital or rehabilitation center, or have received home care from a visiting nurse, you may benefit from continued private therapy services.  Therapy in Your Home, a program offered by the Fellowship Senior Living Rehab & Wellness team based at Fellowship Village, offers comprehensive therapeutic choices that enable older adults to continue the rehabilitation process conveniently and comfortably.

The Therapy in Your Home program provides individualized therapy designed specifically for your functional needs at home.  Our highly trained therapists are available to help with a home safety assessment, pain management, balance and fall prevention, swallowing difficulties, memory impairment, Parkinson’s disease, and bathing, dressing and grooming techniques. Physical, occupational, and speech therapies will speed your recovery from illness, injury or surgery.

There are many benefits to choosing Therapy in Your Home.  A relaxed home environment fosters a special relationship with your therapist and supports your rehabilitative advancement. The plan of care developed specifically to address your unique lifestyle helps you progress in becoming independent with daily activities and help you return to doing the things you enjoy.

Home therapy also encourages family members to be closely involved in your rehabilitation. If needed, therapists can give family or professional caregivers guidance and training that addresses your specific needs.  Home therapy eliminates the burden of coordinating transportation to and from a rehab center several times a week.

The Fellowship Senior Living Rehab & Wellness team also offers comprehensive outpatient rehab services at Fellowship Village.  If prescribed by a physician, outpatient rehab and home therapy may be covered under Medicare Part B. Check with your insurance carrier for complete coverage details, as plans vary. 

Call 908-580-3880 to inquire about Fellowship’s Therapy in Your Home program or outpatient rehab services at Fellowship Village.

Smart Travel Tips for Older Adults

June 30, 2017

Contributed by Carole Clausen, Personal Trainer, Fellowship Senior Living

Traveling can be rewarding and exhausting at the same time.  We love the excitement of embarking on a new adventure and embrace returning to our "Home Sweet Home" when the adventure ends. As we age, traveling can test our strength and endurance.  These tips and careful planning will help you stay healthy and safe on your trip:

Consider your healthcare needs in advance and review plans with your physician.  Your healthcare provider may advise a check-up or recommend updated vaccinations and shots for travel out of the country. (Find information about vaccines at the CDC website:  cdc.gov/vaccines/index.html). Research and reserve any special services you need on your trip.

Carry a full supply of prescription medications in their orignal containers. Keep a written list of your prescriptions and your physician's contact information with you at all times. If flying to your destination, store medications in your purse or carry-on bag.

Take an extra pair of eyeglasses, if possible. A magnifying glass helps you read detailed maps or small-print schedules. A small writing pad or notebook comes in handy to help you remember details.  If you wear a hearing aid and are traveling abroad, pack spare batteries.

Don't let luggage weigh you down. Consider replacing your older and heavier luggage with smaller lightweight bags with wheels. Be mindful of how often you'll be hauling your luggage on your trip and make every effort to reduce bulk and lighten the load.

Advance planning can reduce the discomfort and stress related to flying.  If you're a slow walker, request an electric cart or wheelchair when you book your seat, especially if you have a connecting flight. For extra leg room on the plane, book early to request an aisle seat or reserve a roomier Economy Plus or First Class seat. 

Older adults are more prone to deep-vein thrombosis-DVT-a risk on planes, trains and long road trips. Guard against dangerous blood clots by taking short walks hourly and wearing compression stockings.

Stay hydrated and avoid food sensitivities. Start your day with lots of water and sip more water or non-alcoholic beverages as you continue your activities. Consume caffeinated drinks and alcoholic beverages in moderation; they act as diuretics and do not contribute to hydration. Resist trying all the unfamiliar local foods to avoid experiencing digestive issues with sudden dietary changes.

Let the adventure begin!

Hydration and Dehydration

June 26, 2017

Contributed by Carole Clausen, Personal Trainer, Fellowship Senior Living

Hydration is a vital element to staying healthy.  Older adults may have a diminished sense of thirst, urinary incontinence, or take medications that impact fluid intake or fluids stored in the body. Therefore it is important for older adults to maintain adequate fluid intake.

Proper hydration supports an intricate system of keeping the fluids and electrolytes balanced in our bodies. Water is essential for maintaining this fluid balance as it helps control body temperature; assists the body in insulating itself against cold; delivers nutrients and medications to cells and carries away waste; keeps mouth, nose, eyes, and skin moist; ensures proper volume of blood; and keeps the urinary tract flushed out, thus reducing the risk of urinary tract infections.

The recommended daily fluid intake to keep your body hydrated is 48 to 64 ounces, or 6 to 8 eight ounce glasses. This may sound like a lot, but your daily hydration requirement needn't be filled entirely from the tap. Foods and beverages that contribute to your daily intake levels include milk, soup, fruit and vegetable juices, gelatin, apples, watermelon, decaffeinated soft drinks, tea, and even cooked broccoli. Caffeinated drinks and alcohol do not contribute to your daily intake.  They actually act as diuretics-contributing to water loss-and should be consumed in moderation.

The first sign of dehydration is usually thirst, which generally occurs when there is a 1 to 2% loss of body water.  At a 2-5% loss, symptoms can include dry mouth, flushed skin, headache, fatigue and impaired physical performance. A 6% loss may cause increases in body temperature, heart rate and breathing. With an 8% loss, one may experience dizziness, confusion, increased weakness and labored breathing with daily activites. A loss of 10% body water may cause muscle spasms, swollen tongue and delirium. When the loss drops to 11%, symptoms include poor circulation and failing kidney function.

Don't wait for thirst and other symptoms of dehydration to take action.  Actively prevent fluid loss by starting your morning with water or juice and carry a bottle of water wherever you go. Drink water before, during and after physical activity and take water breaks throughout the day. Eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily.

Five Ways Senior Citizen Care is Changing

May 11, 2017

Contributed by Brian Lawrence, President and CEO of Fellowship Senior Living

Elder care is evolving from an "institutional model" to a "consumer-based model" that offers a broad range of accommodations, programs and services designed to meet the individual needs of older adults. Five trends in the care and desires of seniors are:

Memory Care Support
The need for memory care support has grown significantly in recent years.  Now, two out of three people over the age of 85 experience some kind of memory loss, an issue that was rarely discussed when I began my career in elder services in 1999.  Fortunately there are now elder care communities all across the United States.  The need for specialized services is increasing rapidly as Baby Boomers age.  Those with memory loss require a safe, secure "home-like" environment with access to the outdoors, activities that stimulate language and memory, common spaces that encourage socialization, and living spaces that allow residents to maintain their privacy and dignity.

Bigger is Better
The size and functionality of accommodations are changing for the better.  While many older adults choose to downsize, they still want a warm welcoming environment that allows engagement with family, friends, and neighbors. Years ago, the hospital model was adapted by nursing homes, with three or four people sharing a room with one bathroom.  In recent years, there has been a shift from semi-private to private suites in short-term skilled rehab and to one bedroom apartments with separate living and kitchen areas, laundry facilities and walk-in closets in assisted living residences.  Long-term skilled care has also evolved; residents now have ample space for visitors or enjoying quiet time and rest in a home-like setting.

Quality and Choice
Quality and choice are the top priorities for demanding American consumers. Today, people choosing Life Plan Communities (also known as Continuing Care Retirement Communities or CCRCs) expect a variety of services and amenities-including swimming pools, fitness centers, greenhouses, theaters, and putting greens-that are convenient and easily accessible.  Equally important, they want choice; whether it's the flooring and finishes used in their homes or multiple on-site dining options.

Interest in Life Plan Communities
Almost 2,000 Life Plan Communities across the United States offer residents a vibrant, active lifestyle, and interest in this type of community is growing.  In addition to programs and activities, older adults look for communities that offer a continuum of care to meet their future needs and protect their financial assets from rising long-term health care costs.

Connecting to the World
Older adults want to feel connected to the world around them.  They seek a lifestyle focused on aspects of wellness that include physical, spiritual, vocational, intellectual, social, emotional and environmental.  Active seniors want to build connections and stay fit and engaged.  They look for residences that are welcoming to friends and family members; places that attract the broader community through programs, events and activities, from theatrical performances to lecture series to art classes.

How Flexible Are You?

March 13, 2017

Contributed by Carole Clausen, Fellowship Senior Living, Personal Trainer

Staying physically active is important for maintining a fit and healthy lifestyle, and flexibility is a key component that contributes to physical fitness and well-being.

Flexibility relates to the amount of movement or range of motion available to each joint. Some joints are designed to have only a little movement, while others are designed to have a lot of movement.  Joint motion allows us to reach above our heads and bend down to pick something up from the floor.  Good range of motion enables us to be more mobile; it supports balance and may reduce risk of falling.

Flexibility is also related to muscle length.  Muscles need to be certain lengths in order to achieve full range of motion.  Most muscles provide movement around a single joint; however some enable movement around two joints.  For example, the hamstring muscles on the back of the thighs work to bend the knee and extend the hip.  If the hamstring muscles are shortened or tight, the range of motion for those joints is limited.

Stretching is the best way to enhance flexibility.  Proper stretching, especially when completed 2 to 3 times a week, can help avoid muscle cramping and loss of motion around a joint, improve prosture, and promote physical and mental relaxation.

Stretching programs should include the major muscle groups of the arms and and legs. Plan to stretch the calves, hips, thighs, lower back, neck and shoulders. 

Proper technique is crucial for successful stretching.  If your body is not positioned correctly, the target muscle may not be activated.  Here are some stretching tips:

  • Stretch to the point of tension and never to a point of pain.  It may slightly uncomfortable, but not painful.
  • Wait for an injured joint to heal before starting a stretching program.
  • Hold your stretch for 10 seconds and avoid bouncing. 
  • Don't forget to breath throughout the stretch.
  • Slowly release the stretch and allow the muscles to relax.

Staying Strong, Fit and Independent in 2017

January 30, 2017

Contributed by Carole Clausen, Fellowship Senior Living Personal Trainer

Adults over age 65 can greatly benefit from making healthy resolutions; especially those that help prevent illness and injury.  Carole Clausen, personal trainer for the Rehab and Wellness program at Fellowship Village, offers these tips for making healthy lifestyles changes:

Participate in cognitive health activities.  As we age, it’s important to keep our mind engaged and stimulated with mind boosting activities.  This year, try joining a book club, schedule fun game nights with family and friends, or simply do a daily crossword puzzle.  Take time and make an effort to learn and try new things.

Exercise or start a new physical activity.  Exercise needn’t be exhausting or feel like work.  Seek out strength and balance training in classes geared toward older adults like Tai Chi, water aerobics, chair exercises and other forms of group exercise.  Start a walking regimen in your neighborhood or at the local mall.  When watching television, get up and move during every commercial break.  Even small actions can be beneficial. 

Eat a healthier diet.  Eating well is just as important as exercising.  While processed foods are easy to throw together for a meal, they come with a host of health issues and concerns.  Vow to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables.  You’ll soon see a noticeable difference in how you look and feel.

Make your home safer.  Take some time to assess your home objectively.  Is the lighting adequate?  Do you have throw rugs that are tripping hazards?  Are outside steps in good repair?  Is it time to install grab bars in the bathrooms?  If you’re not sure, contact a professional service provider to evaluate your home and recommend changes to make it safe.

Seek professional support.   The Rehab and Wellness team at Fellowship Village develops activities and services for older adults who seek fitness and well-being.  Our experts guide seniors to fulfill their potential through individually tailored programs that are available to Fellowship Village residents and the general public. 


November is Diabetes Awareness Month

November 13, 2016

Contributed by Carole Clausen, Personal Trainer, Fellowship Senior Living

As people age, their risk for Type 2 diabetes increases, and those who already have the disease may find that adjustments are required in how it is managed. Regular physical activity is a key part of managing diabetes along with proper meal planning, taking medications as prescribed, and stress management.

The American Diabetes Association recommends two types of physical activity that are important for managing diabetes: aerobic exercise and strength training.  Aerobic exercise helps your body use insulin better.  It makes your heart and bones strong, relieves stress, improves blood circulation, and reduces your risk for heart disease by lowering blood glucose levels, lowering blood pressure and improving cholesterol levels.

Strength training (also called resistance training) makes your body more sensitive to insulin. It also helps to maintain and build strong muscles and bones, reducing your risk for osteoporosis and bone fractures.  Before you begin a new physical activity program, speak with your doctor to determine the best target range for your blood glucose levels.

Correctly managing your diabetes over the long term can help you avoid or delay complications and ensure that you live a long, happy and active life.

The Benefits of Swimming and Water Exercise for Older Adults

July 11, 2016

Many of us find a dip in the pool to be a relaxing way to spend some time. But did you know the many health benefits related to exercising in the water? For older adults and those with physical challenges, a water fitness routine offers a safe and low impact alternative to land exercise.

Swimming is easier on the joints than going for a jog or running on a treadmill.  And because water is about twelve times denser than air, your muscles will be busy working with every move. You're also less likely to become overheated, fall, or suffer other exercise related injuries in water.

Studies are now showing numerous health benefits from a routine schedule of recreational swimming, water walking and other aqua exercise; such as a reduction in blood pressure, increased oxygen distribution through the body, and decreased body fat.  Water exercise can also increase bone density, improve balance and overall strength.

The indoor heated pool at Fellowship Village offers residents a convenient spot for recreational swimming and water exercise. Residents can be found swimming laps every morning, and the pool is full at the water aerobics classes held four days a week. 

In 2014 the Rehab and Wellness team at Fellowship Village introduced Ai Chi classes for interested residents. Created by former Olympic swim coach Jun Konno and combining Tai Chi concepts with Shiatsu and QiGong techniques, Ai Chi poses are performed in warm shoulder depth water. Unlike more vigorous water aerobic exercises, the postures of Ai Chi are meditative, slow and broad.  This thermal workout fosters range of motion while challenging balance and facilitating core strength and stability. Some participants wear five pound ankle weights to counteract the natural bouyancy of the water and help control their movements.

Prior to the first session, residents' flexibility strength, aerobic capacity and agility were evaluated. According to Dr. Patricia Deotte, Director of Rehabilitation and Wellness at Fellowship Village, residents showed improvement when tested again at the end of the program.

Our Rehab and Wellness team also uses the warm water spa portion of the pool for one-on-one physical therapy sessions.

The pool at Fellowship Village is one of many campus amenities that promote good health and an active lifestyle.  Call Rehab and Wellness at 908-580-3880 to learn more and see our pool on Facebook.

Ten Steps to Control Type 2 Diabetes

June 16, 2016

If you have type 2 diabetes you're probably wondering what to eat to keep your blood sugar levels in check.  The good news is that you may not have to give up your favorite foods. A diabetic diet, like most healthy diets, is about controlling portions and consuming a wide variety of vegetabes, fruits, nuts, seed, lean protein, low fat dairy products and healthy fats.

Remember that all foods are not created equal.  The following suggestions can help guide you in making the best choices.

  1. Consume a consistant amount of carbohydrates for meals and snacks.  Carbohydrates include grains (bread, pasta, rice), milk (yogurt), fruits, and starchy vegtables (corn, potatoes).  Studies show that consuming whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables help your body avoid spikes in blood sugar that can lead to health complications.
  2. Once you've learned to balance your carbs, try balancing meals with lean protein and healthy unsaturated fats, which digest slowly and help keep your blood sugar steady after a meal.  Fats should comprise 25% to 35% of your daily caloric intake.
  3. A healthy plate is nine inches in diameter and consists of one half non-starchy vegetables in a variety of colors; one quarter lean protein such as fish, chicken, turkey, lean beef, pork or beans; and one quarter starch such as whole grain bread, rice, pasta, or starchy vegetables.
  4. Include a lean protein source whenever you snack in order to help regulate blood sugar.  Some great options that are high in protein and healthy fats include cottage cheese, nuts, seeds and one tablesoon of nut butter.
  5. In order to efficiently monitor diabetes, it's important to test your blood sugar at different times during the day.  Your blood sugars are changing every second so it is vital to monitor trends before and after meals.  Ask your doctor or Registered dietician for a testing schedule based upon the amount of strips you are prescribed.
  6. Skipping breakfast can cause irregular blood sugar levels that can lead health problems.  Consider breakfast a mandatory part of your daily routine.
  7. When planning meals, be sure to include a healthy fat source to help stabilize your blood sugar and appetite.  Try avocado, nuts, or seeds for some healthy options. If you are trying to lose or maintain your current weight, you should only consume a small portion of these healthy fats.
  8. Replacing snacks made with refined sugar or simple carbohydrates with plant- based choices promotes maintenance of weight and good blood sugar control.  Try air-popped popcorn or an apple.

Hiring The Best Help at Home - Agencies vs. Independent Care Providers

May 24, 2016

When your loved one needs help to remain safely and comfortably at home, finding the right care provider can be a daunting task. Many people feel uncomfortable with the prospect of having a stranger care for a loved one. Plus, seeking the right caregiver can feel so overwhelming that many choose to continue without help. However, it needn’t be difficult when you know where to start. There are two options when seeking a caregiver; hire an independent provider on your own, or work with a home care agency.

At first glance, it may seem more affordable to hire an independent individual. This is especially true when you’ve heard rave reviews from acquaintances about a particular caregiver. But keep in mind that there are factors you should be aware of when considering an independent provider.

When hiring privately, you are the caregiver’s employer, with the responsibility of tracking payroll taxes and providing insurance to protect yourself, your loved one and the caregiver in the event of a mishap in the home. As the employer, you should create a clear a job description and employment agreement to clarify expectations. It’s also recommended that the caregiver has undergone a criminal background check and it’s important to verify that he/she is legally entitled to work in the United States. You should also ascertain that the independent caregiver has met state requirements to provide “hands-on” care.  

On the other hand, an accredited home care agency relieves you of administrative and employment related tasks so that you can focus on your loved one’s needs. Agencies assume responsibility for all caregiver matters including payroll, taxes, benefits, scheduling, training, and supervision.   A home care agency can also assure that breaks in service are minimized when the assigned caregiver is unavailable.

Fellowship Senior Living created the Fellowship Helping Hands program to relieve families of the burden of supervising care providers while attending to their own busy lives and seeing that their loved ones’ needs are met. Fellowship Helping Hands’ bonded and insured Certified Home Health Aides (CHHA’s) and Certified Nurse Aides (CNA’s) undergo rigorous pre-employment screening, and ongoing training once they are employed. Furthermore, every CNA and CHHA is supervised by a Registered Nurse (RN).

Before hiring a private caregiver, carefully consider the liability and employment risks. A home health care agency such as Fellowship Helping Hands offers the benefit of a qualified team of professionals dedicated to providing the best care for your loved one.

For more information, contact Fellowship Helping Hands at 908-580-3885.

Fellowship Village Marks 20 Year Anniversary

May 10, 2016

Part 2 - Building a Community

In twenty years we’ve come a long way. Fellowship Village sprang from a bare dusty red clay landscape and has grown into a scenic and vibrant community in the rolling Somerset Hills.

Hard hats were a common sight in 1998 as construction of the Pool and Shiloh Court homes was underway. By 1999, Phase II of Fellowship Village – the building of the Health Center, the Plant Operations Garage, the Wellness Center (now the Medical Center) and the Greenhouse – was in high gear. The Putting Green was added in 2002, and in 2004 Residents celebrated the grand opening of the Bocce and Shuffleboard courts. The Billiard Room followed in 2005.

In the fall of 2009, state and local government officials attended a press conference at Fellowship Village to commemorate the new 25,000 square foot solar panel installation. That same year, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) certified Fellowship Village for outpatient rehabilitation services.

New “Fellowship Village Senior Living” signs at Allen and Martinsville Roads welcomed one and all in 2010, while renovation work began in the residential Dining Rooms, the Community Center Living Room and Private Dining Room. That same year, the Helping Hands program was introduced and Fellowship Village hosted its first Gala and first Nativity and Christmas Tree Lighting.

A new Reading Room adjacent to the Library was dedicated in 2010 in memoriam to Martha C. McCaskie, a Resident who was committed to organizing a full service library in the early days of Fellowship Village.

In the summer of 2011, over 300 guests enjoyed the grand opening of the completely renovated Bistro and Terrace View dining areas, including the brand new Atrium. The addition of a second therapy gym with state of the art equipment and an outdoor therapy park enabled our enthusiastic Rehab and Wellness team to offer enhanced program and services.

The Community Center restrooms were given facelifts in 2013 and a secure Memory Care neighborhood was created in the Heath Center. The Fellowship Senior Living at Home was introduced, offering a comprehensive alternative to long term care insurance for people who choose to remain in their private homes. That same year, a new organization name, Fellowship Senior Living, Inc. reflected the expansion of our mission and services beyond the Fellowship Village campus.

What will the next 20 years bring? The immediate future will see the completion of the court hallway renovations, a long awaited Health Center expansion and a new multi-purpose auditorium. And just as every hometown community evolves through the years, Fellowship Village will continue to adapt and adjust to the needs and interests of current and future Residents.


Worried About Your Driving Skills? Consider a Rehabilitation Program

March 18, 2016

As we age, it’s normal for our driving abilities to change.  You may have driven your entire life and taken pride in your safety record, but it’s important to realize that your driving ability can change as you age.  It is also essential to get help if you or others notice a change

Factors that impact driving skills include diminished vision, impaired hearing, and decreased motor reflexes. Many older adults experience a reduction in strength, coordination and flexibility, which can affect your ability to safely control a vehicle.  For example:

  •  Neck pain or stiffness impairs your ability to look left and right, or over your shoulder.
  • Leg pain or cramping makes it difficult to move your foot between brake and gas pedals.

  • Weaker arm strength causes difficulty in steering effectively. 

  • A decrease in your ability to effectively respond to multiple signs, traffic lights, road conditions, and the movements of other vehicles reduces reaction time.

Many older adults can continue to drive safely as they age.  If you are concerned about changes in your abilities, a Driving Rehabilitation program can help identify warning signs, reduce risk and practice safe driving.  We encourage anyone recovering from a debilitating illness, surgery or accident, to consider the program at Fellowship Village. Led by an Occupational Therapist, the Driving Rehabilitation program at Fellowship Village has successfully graduated applicants who did not have to turn in their car keys. 

Call 908-580-3827 for more information about the program.


For more information, call (877) 866-3480 

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